Standing Up Across Kaiwi

Brian Kealana
Brian Kealana
Vitor Macal
Vitor Macal

(KHNL)- It's a cross between surfing and canoe paddling.

A very demanding discipline known as stand-up paddle boarding.

It's a sport that's been gaining in popularity.

And this year, for the first time, it's being run as a major division, in a major event, the quiksilveredition, Moloka'i to O'ahu, Paddleboard Race.

The event covers some 32 miles of open ocean.

"Its a new thing." says paddler Vitor Macal. "It's exciting. I never met anybody that tried it and didn't like it."

According to paddler Todd Bradley, "Going across that channel and standing on a board is like going to the gym and standing on a ball while you're lifting weights. i mean, its tricky."

Upwards of 30 teams will "stand-up" across the Kaiwi Channel.

4 paddlers will do it solo.

One of them, is 42 year old north shore life guard Vitor Marcal.

"I expect to have fun riding the swells across Molokai. We expect to ride the bumps. We expect good conditions."

But even in good conditions, cross Kaiwi in a boat is tough enough.

These guys will do it by pulling themselves through tough seas.

"You know what, a coastal run and crossing the Molokai channel, is another game."

"After my training days, I notice that your toes go numb after 2 hours."

"Basically it's kind of a dream fulfilled. As a kid, your kind of doodling about surfing from one island to the next. The magical wave. This is the dream come true of surfing from one island to the next."

Paddlers here have to be multi-taskers.

According to legendary waterman Brian Kealana, an experienced stand-up paddler, in the right conditions, can ride swells for up to a mile.

"It's a waterman's dream. It takes a certain waterman. Not only a surfer, but a canoe paddler. A sailor. It takes all those disciplines and just being well balanced."

The 11th Annual Molokai to Oahu race will feature other paddling disciplines as well.

Over 100 paddlers will take part.

For some of the stand-up paddlers, they will be attacking the 32 mile distance for the very first time.